Raid on Aid Flotilla Raises Questions

Israeli officials have said their sea blockade of Gaza is intended to keep weapons, not humanitarian aid, out of the hands of Palestinians and the Hamas terrorist organization. The Israeli government offered to inspect tens of thousands of tons of aid on a small flotilla that attempted to run the blockade, then forward humanitarian goods to Gaza.

Those in charge of the vessels refused. That led to the bloody raid on the flotilla by Israeli commandos.

It is known the commandos did not resort to violence until they were attacked by people on a ship the troops were dropped on from helicopters.

Yet now, an international outcry against Israel has resulted from the raid.

Obviously, Israeli authorities bungled the raid badly. But President Barack Obama is right to refrain from condemning Tel Aviv, pending results of an investigation of the affair.

It is possible – more than that, given tactics and strategies used by Hamas in the past – that the situation was meant to incite Israel to use military force against the flotilla. The goal may have been to score a public relations coup against Israel.

If the flotilla’s goal was humanitarian aid, why was Israel not allowed to inspect the vessels’ cargoes? Before conclusions are reached, that and other questions need to be answered.